Tag Archives: God

Harold Camping: May 21st, The End of the World, and You

In the last few weeks, a gross amount of attention has been given to a man by the name of Harold Camping.  Harold, as we all probably know, has predicted that Jesus Christ will return to rapture His church tomorrow, on May 21st, 2011.  Now normally, I don’t give this sort of stuff any attention.  But I can’t help but notice the great amount of people who have.  I guess there is nothing more important happening in this world right now, and it must just be a slow news cycle.  Such claims of men who say they know when Jesus will return, as we all know from history, aren’t entirely unusual.  Though of course, they are a bit odd and out of place considering that the Lord explicitly taught that no man knows the day or the hour of His return.  Most Christians understand this very basic teaching, and aren’t in the slightest way moved by it.

Yet without fail, every few years somebody comes along who feels that through their diligent research and study of the Scriptures, or by means of some secret divine revelation, they have managed to figure out something that nobody else has figured out.  They know the timing of Christ’s return!  And to some degree, many of us laugh at it all.  So much so that some people even throw end of the world parties.  But tonight I’ve realized something about Harold Camping.  Harold Camping is a paradigm of how many Evangelicals study the Scriptures.  When you look at Harold Camping, instead of thinking you see some crazy old man and false teacher,  realize that you just might be looking into a mirrored reflection of yourself.

We all have been influenced by some Bible teacher over the years who just seemed like he had an amazing grasp of the Scriptures.  Every time such a teacher speaks, great mysteries and levels of understanding just seem to be unlocked, and we are blown away by his penetrating insights and discoveries.  We highly esteem such individuals.  So much so, we want to be like them.  So we do what comes naturally, we do our best to try and imitate them.  So we spend a lot of time reading the Scriptures, memorizing verses, and being extremely caught up in the world of theology and Biblical studies.  We highlight every passage and look up ever single word in a dictionary.

But a problem occurs.  Through our first few readings of the Scriptures, we find ourselves having a hard time understanding them.  We discover we aren’t as insightful as our beloved Bible teacher after all.  But not wanting to be ignorant, and always wanting to have some super deep spiritual insight to share with others, we attempt to look very hard to find some hidden gem.  And when that is not enough, we begin to try and squeeze water out of rocks.  Why?  Because something of our pride is tickled, and we want to say we understand something great and awesome, and appear insightful to others.  And because of such, we become poor Bible students.  And instead of being blown away by the awesome work of what Jesus Christ accomplished on the cross and in His resurrection, we find ourselves caught up in lesser things.

Why do we do such?  I’m convinced we do such because we are ultimately bored with Biblical Christianity and the faith once and for all handed down to the saints.  Because we think the cross is so elementary, we move on to what we consider the real “deep things of God.”  But in doing such, we’ve show ourselves to be deceived.  For there is no greater mystery in all of the universe to understand than God crucified.  And if you can ever get bored with this mystery, then it shows you’ve never really even begun to understand it.  There is no nugget of truth greater or any insight more precious than what God did in Jesus Christ 2,000 years ago.

This isn’t to say we should neglect the study of eschatology– the doctrine of the last days.  We should most certainly study these things.  But my main point is this:  if we can’t rightly understand the doctrines of the last days in light of what Christ did 2,000 years ago on the cross and in His resurrection from the dead, then we can’t honestly expect to understand anything at all.  For in that place is found all insight and knowledge.  And apart from a mastery understanding of what Christ did there, the rest of the Bible will be a very dark place.  And it will be a very dark place for you, because like Harold Camping, you’ve became bored with the everlasting Gospel of Jesus Christ.  And God doesn’t want you to understand the precious truths contained in the Scriptures apart from the truth found in Christ.

So, make fun of Harold Camping all you want.  But consider that perhaps God has raised such a man up to serve as a mirror for you to gaze in.  And be warned, that in making fun of Harold Camping, you are only making fun of yourself.


God– The Giver, Killer, and Fulfiller of Dreams

Have you ever had a dream?  By “dream” I don’t necessarily mean something you experience as you sleep at night.  Rather, I mean that God-given inspiration that lodges itself in your heart and mind to work towards a specific goal and outcome.  In a mere moment, you experience a crystalized thought that captures everything that you are, and becomes the primary driving force of everything you are about.

God is the giver of dreams.  Through the study of Scripture and the leading of the Holy Spirit, God will often take a thought and like a seed, plant it into the depths of who we are.  He will water and nurture that dream.  And from that moment, we will passionately labor to bring that which we do not see into existence. 

And from that moment, everything is a smooth ride into the sunset, right?  …WRONG!

God is also the killer of dreams.  It is my conviction that every dream that God births in us God will also effectually put to death.  And by that I mean there is nothing God births in you that you will think it humanly possible to accomplish.  You will be forced to go through periods of darkness and despair.  You will be forced to go through times where you may think the dream but a distant wish.  You may even begin to experience seasons of doubt, and be ready to throw in the towel.  You will begin to formulate a Plan B. 

But, God is also the fulfiller of dreams.  But when this cycle has finally run its course, seemingly out of nowhere God will bring that which began to look all but lost into being.  I think the story of Joseph in Genesis is a perfect example of this.  As we all know, God gave Joseph a dream one night that he would become an exalted ruler.  Joseph was utterly convinced of this dream, and shared it with his family.  But naysayers attempted to squash Josephs’ dream.  Indeed, they even began to actively labor against it.  And for many years the fulfillment of Josephs’ dream began to become more and more like a distant pipe dream. 

Then one day God suddenly brought the dream into being.  That which was unseen became seen.  And that which God had conceived in Joseph was finally born.  And He did this so that Joseph would realize that God was sovereign and in control.  He did this so Joseph would realize that it is not by the arm of the flesh, but by the power of the Holy Spirit that things come into being.  He did this so that it might be realized that God is both the author and finisher of faith.  He did this so Joseph might realize that God never gives up on what He is doing in our lives, even when all hope has been lost to us.

Some of you have dreams in your heart.  Some of you are actively pursuing those dreams.  To others, all hope seems to be lost, and the dream almost forgotten.  But don’t give up and don’t despair.  Don’t lose the vision God gave to you.  As Hebrews says, it is by patience that we inherit the promises of God.  So be patient.  God is still at work.  And if what you have in your heart has been born of Him, be sure that God will bring what He spoke into fruition.  You will see that dream fulfilled.

For our God is the giver, killer, and fulfiller of dreams.

Charlie Sheen Wants to Be Me

“Actor” and celebrity, Charlie Sheen,  has made a big splash recently.  Spinning out of control and self-destructing in front of the entire world, his recent “bad boy” antics have probably gained him more attention and notoriety than anything he has ever done on TV or in the movies.  His melodramatic actions and sayings are being gobbled up by news media that wouldn’t normally give him the time of day.  People who were otherwise unaware of his existence are now suddenly caught up into the man who has become something of a train wreck.

Sheen is flaunting himself to the world as a rock star from Mars who deserves the adoration of millions.  Indeed, the idea conveyed to the masses is that we all should want to be like Charlie Sheen.  After all, he literally makes millions of dollars from every TV episode he appears in, and has access to all the women and drugs one could ever hope for.  I should want to be Charlie Sheen. 

But the truth of the matter is when the rubber meets the road:  Charlie Sheen wants to be me.

Charlie Sheen may not realize it, but in spite of all of what Charlie Sheen says he has, I would say Charlie Sheen has nothing.  He says he is rich and need in nothing, and I say he is naked and poor and in need of everything.  What Sheen is doing is nothing other than what millions of people do every day in this world.  He is trying to fill that “God-sized hole” in his heart.  As Solomon said, God has set eternity in our hearts, and Sheen is vainly and desperately attempting to fill his heart with that which only God can fill.  In spite of their claims, money, drugs and porn stars can never deliver on their promises to truly fill that empty space in a broken humanity.  They never satisfy.

With Christ, I have everything Charlie Sheen could ever dream of having, but will never obtain.  I have a purpose for being in Christ, and am filled with the love, joy, and peace that comes from knowing Him.  Indeed, in Jesus Christ, who is Lord of all and who possesses all things, I have all things.  All things are mine in Him, and I lack for nothing.

At the end of the day, though I plug away in a clerical role at a law office making a humble wage, living in a two bedroom apartment, and am single, I would say that in Jesus Christ, I have everything that Charlie Sheen wants, but does not have.  Indeed, even what he claims to have he actually lacks.  Though radically different in the lifestyle he is living, the impulses Sheen is acting on every single day shows that in reality, though he would probably deny it, Charlie Seen wants to be me.

God’s Eye is on the Super Bowl

Yesterday there were people praying that the Pittsburg Steelers would win Super Bowl 45.  Then there were people who were praying that the Green Bay Packers would win.  And seeing an awful theological paradox being formed by such a practice, some arm-chaired theologians have declared such prayers are nonsense. 

“God doesn’t care about who wins the Super Bowl!”  they say. 

And to such theology I say, “Horse-pucky!” 

The truth of the matter is that God most certainly does care about who wins the Super Bowl.  To say otherwise is somehow create a secular bubble in God’s sovereign authority over this world.  To say such is to say our God, who has numbered the hairs on our head and cares even about the sparrow, somehow doesn’t care about something that happens in the affairs of man.  There isn’t some imaginary sacred space that God cares about, and then secular space that God doesn’t care about.  All events that happen under the sun and in the affairs of men are sacred to God.  And our heavenly Father, who loves all of the sons of men certainly cares about every aspect of our lives. 

He cares about what happens to us between the cradle and the grave.  He cares about the big decisions we have to make, as well as the little.  He cares about the moments that bring us joy, as well as the moments that bring us pain.  And yes, God even cares about who wins the Super Bowl. 

Go Pack go!

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